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Interview: Abu Dhabi’s urban planner on our carbon footprint

Interview: Abu Dhabi’s urban planner on our carbon footprint

Although oil has brought a considerable amount of wealth to the region, it is time to invest in renewable energy sources, says Abu Dhabi Urban Planning Council manager, John Madden.

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January 19, 2011 3:25 by



When do you think putting together a solar energy system in a house would be cheap?
The implementation of solar energy systems in individual houses becomes feasible when three key ingredients come into play: government incentives that reduce the high initial capital costs, smart grid infrastructure and feed-in tariffs that allow selling extra power to the grid, and people willing to be sustainable and leave a better world for their children.

With new sustainable building regulations in place, the market will transform to address the supply of sustainable materials, including solar energy systems and services, which meet growing demands. In the U.A.E., where no tax incentives can be made available to promote onsite renewable energy generation, the government must introduce subsidies and develop policies that require future developments, use renewable energy for a proportion of the energy demand.

The constructions firms in the region are not qualified or do not have enough experience to build sustainable developments. What is your opinion about this claim?
Sustainability has been a hot topic with regard to the U.A.E. construction industry over the past two to three years. And more so since the introduction of Estidama, two years ago. Developments such as Masdar and other projects that follow green building standards have helped the industry move forward towards developing the required skills and experience to be able to build green.

While there haven’t been several developments that consider sustainability in their design, the majority of the construction firms have the capacity (and experience to some extent) to be able to use green building construction practices.

A major aspect of the Estidama initiative is training and capacity building.

-          TRENDS Magazine



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